No one is going to deny the economic gloom and doom filling the news each night. As unemployment soars close to 10% and more and more companies announce that they will be downsizing, it’s time to take a hard look at yourself and make sure that your name isn’t on the list if your company needs to let people go.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Check your attitude
We’re all stressed and we’re all angry about the economy, but don’t let that stress seep into your work life. This is the time for all of us to be team players and to try to stay positive in the face of adversity. I don’t mean that you should roll over and let your employer take advantage of you in the name of the downturn (see my previous post about how loyalty can actually hurt your career), but I do think that we all have to be agile as we figure out how the evolving economy affects our lives. Try not to be the office whiner. All that will do is make people around you more upset. And, if you’re the one hurting office morale, you may be the next to go. Save your complaining for drinks with your (non-work) friends.
2. Stop watching the clock
If you’re the type of person who flies out the door every day as soon as the clock hits five, you might want to kick that habit now. It might not feel fair, but even if your work is done you might want to think twice about being a clock watcher. In a bad economy, the people percieved as overachievers are the ones who are most likely to survive.
3. Step up to the plate
Is there a nightmare project that everyone knows has to get done but everyone is avoiding? Now might be the time to step up and tackle it. By showing that you aren’t afraid to do some of the less glamorous work, you show that you’re a team player — a valuable asset in this economy.
4. Remind your boss how valuable you are
Now is not the time to be shy. Take a moment to reiterate some of your major successes to your boss so she doesn’t forget about all the ways you’ve helped the company. Everyone’s moving a mile a minute right now and sometimes this means that we only have time to focus on whatever the next urgent thing on our list is. You don’t have to make a big deal about it, just drop it into your next conversation with your boss (something like, “With my experience closing accounts X, Y and Z, I thought I’d be a good candidate to take on the A account as well.”).
5. Don’t be afraid to reveal hidden talents
Do you speak a foriegn language or have experience writing proposals even though your main job function is direct sales (for example)? Don’t forget to share your hidden talents with your boss and volunteer to take on activities outside your main job description. If your boss needs to make staff cuts, you’ll be percieved as more valuable because you may be able to do the job of multiple employees.
The moral of the story here is to take the time to show your employer that you’re a team player and you’re ready for anything. It might seem like a pain to take on extra work, but in the long run, it can only help your career. Not only will you help protect your job, down the line, when the economy is better and your company is looking for people to promote, you’ll have proven yourself to be a dedicated, proactive member of the team.
Read more from contributing writer Jennifer Lee Johnson on her personal finance blog, The Next Rich Girl, or follow her on twitter.